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Macquarie CEO-to-be says invest in India

Benita Kolovos
The CEO-to-be of Macquarie Group says more Australian businesses should be investing in India

More Australian businesses should be investing in India, incoming Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake says.

Ms Wikramanayake, who is set to replace Nicholas Moore as managing director and chief executive at Macquarie when he steps down in November, said investors need to start looking beyond Australia for high yields

"Australia is a small place - it's a $1.5 trillion dollar economy in an $80 trillion world and you get to a point that to grow and have impact you have to get outside this country," she told a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia event in Sydney on Thursday.

"The reason people have been reluctant with India is the risks have been high historically but things are starting to change now ... especially in our sector."

Australia's largest investment bank entered the Indian market in 2004 employed a "patient", "long-term" approach to their growth, Ms Wikramanayake said.

They now employ 1,300 people - predominantly locals - across the country.

"It's not a backroom operation ... every time I go there I am inspired seeing how much initiative they take and people from our Indian operation go on to support us in the US and Mexico and other parts of the (business)," she said.

Ms Wikramanayake joined former high commissioner to India Peter Varghese and chair of the Australia India Council Ashok Jacob on a panel at the event.

In April, Mr Varghese released a plan, commissioned by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, for Australia's economic partnership with India to 2035.

He said India will be one of Australia's top three export markets by that year.

"There is no single market over the next 20 years which offers more growth opportunities for Australian businesses than India," he said on Thursday.

He highlighted the education, agribusiness, resources and tourism sectors as opportunities for Australia in India.

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